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The Fascinating Tale of Nasturtium Out of Africa


nasturtium out of africa
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Nasturtium Out of Africa: A Brief Overview


Nasturtium out of Africa is a type of flowering plant that originated in South America but was introduced to Africa during the colonial era. This plant has become popular not only for its beauty but also for its medicinal properties and culinary uses. In this article, we’ll explore the history of nasturtium out of Africa, its benefits, and some interesting facts that you may not know.

The History of Nasturtium Out of Africa

Origins in South America


Nasturtium out of Africa, scientifically known as Tropaeolum majus, belongs to the family Tropaeolaceae. It is believed to have originated in South America, specifically in the Andes Mountains of Peru and Bolivia. The Incas were the first to cultivate nasturtiums for their medicinal properties, using the leaves and flowers to treat wounds and infections.


The plant was later brought to Europe by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century. It quickly became a popular garden plant due to its bright colors and easy-to-grow nature. It wasn't until the 18th century that nasturtiums were introduced to Africa by European colonizers.

to Africa


In Africa, nasturtiums quickly spread and adapted to the local environment. They were used by indigenous people for their medicinal properties and also as a food source. Nasturtiums were used to treat various ailments, including respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, and even scurvy.

The Benefits of Nasturtium Out of Africa

Medicinal Properties


Nasturtium out of Africa is rich in vitamin C, which makes it an excellent natural remedy for colds and flu. It also has antimicrobial properties that can help fight against bacterial and fungal infections. The leaves and flowers of the plant can be made into a tea or tincture and taken orally, or applied topically to wounds and skin infections.

Culinary Uses


The peppery flavor of nasturtiums makes them a popular addition to salads, sandwiches, and other dishes. Both the leaves and flowers are edible, and they are often used in gourmet cuisine for their unique taste and vibrant colors. Some chefs even use nasturtiums as a substitute for capers in recipes!

Fascinating Facts About Nasturtium Out of Africa

Nasturtiums are Named After Roman Trophies


The name "nasturtium" comes from the Latin word "nasus tortus," which means "twisted nose." This refers to the pungent odor of the plant, which was thought to cause a person's nose to wrinkle up. The Latin name Tropaeolum translates to "trophy" or "monument," referring to the way the plant was used by the Incas to commemorate their victories in battle.

Nasturtiums Attract Beneficial Insects


Nasturtiums are known to attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs, lacewings, and hoverflies. These insects feed on pests like aphids and whiteflies, which can damage other plants in the garden. Planting nasturtiums alongside other crops can help to control pest populations naturally.

Nasturtiums Come in Many Colors


While the most common color for nasturtiums is bright orange, they also come in many other colors including red, yellow, pink, and cream. Some varieties even have variegated leaves or bi-colored flowers, making them a popular choice for ornamental gardens.

Growing Nasturtium Out of Africa

Soil Conditions


Nasturtiums prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. They can tolerate a range of pH levels but prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Adding compost or aged manure to the soil before planting can help to improve soil fertility and structure.

Watering and Fertilizing


Nasturtiums require regular watering, especially during hot weather. However, they do not like to be overwatered, so it's important to let the soil dry out slightly between waterings. Fertilizing once a month with a balanced fertilizer can help to promote healthy growth and flowering.

Propagation


Nasturtiums are easy to propagate from seeds or cuttings. Seeds should be planted directly in the garden after the last frost, while cuttings can be taken from mature plants in the spring or fall. Nasturtiums will self-seed if allowed to go to seed, so it's important to deadhead spent blooms regularly to prevent unwanted volunteers.

Nasturtium Out of Africa FAQs

1. Are nasturtiums easy to grow?


Yes, nasturtiums are very easy to grow and require minimal care. They prefer well-draining soil and regular watering but can tolerate a range of growing conditions.

2. Can I eat nasturtiums?


Yes, both the leaves and flowers of nasturtiums are edible and are often used in gourmet cuisine for their unique flavor and color.

3. What are the medicinal properties of nasturtiums?


Nasturtiums are rich in vitamin C and have antimicrobial properties that can help fight against bacterial and fungal infections. They have traditionally been used to treat respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, and even scurvy.

4. Do nasturtiums attract beneficial insects?


Yes, nasturtiums are known to attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs, lacewings, and hoverflies, which feed on pests like aphids and whiteflies.

5. How do I propagate nasturtiums?


Nasturtiums can be propagated from seeds or cuttings. Seeds should be planted directly in the garden after the last frost, while cuttings can be taken from mature plants in the spring or fall.

That's all for now! I hope you enjoyed learning about the fascinating history and benefits of nasturtium out of Africa. Whether you're looking for a natural remedy for colds and flu or a colorful addition to your garden, nasturtiums are a versatile and beautiful plant to consider.

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